The Taylor Family Tree (on linen)

THE TAYLOR FAMILY TREE – Introduction by Steve Taylor

A. G. Grinnan, MD., wrote*: “Many years ago this Gen. James Taylor, Gen. Memican Hunt, and Hon. Mr. Robert Taylor, of Orange, met by appointment at Washington (probably when Mr. Robert Taylor was in Congress), in order to make an accurate chart of the Taylor family, and each one kept a copy of the chart they made out. I have a chart made out from Mr. Robert Taylor’s chart, with additions to it. This copy was made in 1848 and carefully compared with the original.”

“Gen. Memican Hunt’s copy of the Taylor chart, lost for many years, has recently been recovered from a junk shop in New Orleans, and this corresponds in the Alice Thornton matter with the chart the writer has.”

Who were the people mentioned above? They were all cousins. Dr. A. G. Grinnan (Andrew Glassell, 1827-1902) wrote several articles for The William and Mary College Quarterly. He was a great great grandson of Col. James Taylor II. Gen. James Taylor V (1769-1848) founded and lived in Newport, KY, and was the brother of Capt. Hubbard Taylor, Sr. (of him, more later), who surveyed Newport for his brother. Gen. Memican Hunt (1807-1856)** was, among other things, the first Republic of Texas minister to the U.S. and a great great grandson of James Taylor I. Robert Taylor (1763-1845) was a U.S. congressman from Orange, VA, from 1825-27 and a grandson of James II.. And Alice Thornton was the wife of James Taylor III.

This is the first mention I found of a Taylor Family Tree (chart). I KNEW THERE WAS ONE BECAUSE MY PARENTS HAVE IT (drawn in pen and ink on a piece of linen). And I was trying to find when it was started and who started it because it does not have that information on it. So I searched further and found mention of other Taylor charts.

From Virginia Genealogies: A Genealogy of the Glassell Family of Scotland and Virginia by Horace Edwin Hayden published in 1885: “this very imperfect Taylor pedigree is given. It is based mainly on a chart of the descendants of James Taylor of Carlisle, Eng., kindly loaned me by Miss Edmonia Taylor. . . . Mr. Erasmus Taylor has also sent me the family Bible record of Erasmus Taylor (1715-1794).”

Miss Edmonia Taylor (1824-1892) was the granddaughter of Congressman Robert Taylor. Erasmus Taylor (1830-1907) was Maj. Erasmus Taylor, grandson of Congressman Robert Taylor and chief quartermaster under Gen. James Longstreet. And the bible record was from the father of Congressman Robert Taylor, Erasmus, who was a son of James II.

While searching for a date to put on our tree, I started looking at it to see if there were any hints of when it may have been started. There is an unusual trunk with James Taylor I at the bottom and James Taylor II at the top. The children of James II and Martha Thompson are on leaves off of a thickened branch sprouting out above James II. All other branches on the tree are a single line and eventually go in all directions. The leaves are mostly all about the size of a quarter or slightly larger and some include birth and death years and the names of wives. Some are elongated to include all of the information. And some are especially big to include multiple wives. But most are too small to include the information and some dates, especially dates of death, are written outside the leaf. In looking at the dates written outside the leaf, there are several that could hint at a start date because these people were probably alive when the tree was started. There are several minor hints of a start date, but I figured from my observations that it was probably started around 1750-60 by Martha (Thompson) Taylor, wife of James II, and her family. At this time, most all of the Taylors on the tree still lived in Virginia fairly close to each other.

The last mention of a Taylor tree that I found was at the Talbot Co. Free Library in Easton, MD. It is in the Dandridge File and was written by Ann Spotswood Dandridge. She was the step daughter of Mary Elizabeth (Taylor) Bliss Dandridge, the daughter of Pres. Zachary Taylor. She wrote a book of Taylor genealogy for her step mother. Here is a transcription of a page from her notes:

“Mrs. Fanny Evans owns a copy of “The Taylor Chart”, and in Dec 1901 she kindly allowed A. S. D. (then compiling these notes) to see it and verify her work by it. This chart was made by Gen James Taylor, Mr Robert Taylor, & Gen M. Hunt, probably between the years 1825 & I827 while Mr Robert Taylor was a member of Congress. It is in the form of a tree (or rather of a vine, springing upward from a root, & dividing into branches which trail up and down & in & out as they lengthen. Mrs Evans’ copy bears no date, but is said to be a reproduction of one made from the original, about 1750, and containing additions to that date. Later additions have been made.”

Mrs. Fanny (Bell) Evans was living in Baltimore, MD, as was Ann Dandridge (at 18 Hamilton St., formerly owned by John McLean Taylor, a nephew of Pres. Zachary Taylor). Fanny was a great great granddaughter of Erasmus Taylor, father of Congressman Robert Taylor.

The conflict and my solution:

Dr. A. G. Grinnan says that the tree was started by Gen. James V. Ann Dandridge says the original was started about 1750. I am inclined to agree with Ann Dandridge. Gen. James V would not have drawn the original tree the way our tree is drawn. The branch for his children crosses over his branch and is boxed in by the Winston branch of Alice Taylor, daughter of James III. If Gen. James V had drawn the original tree, HE WOULD HAVE ARRANGED THE BRANCHES TO ALLOW HIM ROOM FOR HIS DESCENDANTS.

He also says that Gen. Memucan Hunt was one of the three that made copies and met in Washington, DC, probably when Robert Taylor was a congressman. He was a congressman in 1825-27. Memucan Hunt was born in 1807 so was 18 to 20 years old at that time which is too young to be a general (and probably too young to have an interest in genealogy). I suspect the meeting he is referring to took place in 1838 when Hunt was then a general (appointed 1836).

Hubbard Taylor, Sr., in Mar 1838 received at Washington City from R. Hawes his updates for the family tree.*** Here is the transcript from his MS: “Hubbard Taylor, Senior of Clarke Co., Ky., Respecting our family, births, ages, etc. from R. Hawes. Received at Washington City, in March 1838. Used in making out our map and paternity tree completed by myself, General James Taylor, Robert Taylor, Esq., of Orange County, Va., and General Momecan Hunt, Washington City, Minister to Texas.” So this meeting actually took place in 1838 and had a fourth person that Grinnan doesn’t mention—Hubbard, Sr. (my 3rd great grandfather).

Therefore, I believe, but have been unable to prove, that the tree my parents have is the original from which the copies mentioned above were made. All copies of the tree seem now to be lost or destroyed (Grinnan’s in his house fire possibly along with Hunt’s copy that was found).  And Gen. James V lost his when his first mansion burned down in 1842.  None have surfaced as of this date (Aug 2014).

How the tree came (or will come) to me:

If the original tree was started by Martha Thompson Taylor and her family it was most likely kept by her oldest son, James Taylor III. He would have given it to his oldest son, James Taylor IV; and then to his oldest, Capt. Hubbard, Sr., and his oldest Capt. Hubbard, Jr. From this point it was probably taken to Normal, IL, when Hubbard Jr. and his wife Mary Ann moved there between 1850 and 1860. They returned to Winchester, KY, and died there, but they left several children in the Normal/Bloomington (twin cities) area including my great grandfather, Pendleton, and his sister Elen A. (Taylor) Savary.

L. Wayne Bosworth gave the tree to my grandparents, Albert Berry and Lucile Janet Taylor, probably sometime in the 1940’s. Wayne was the grandson of Elen Savary. Sometime in the 1950’s George Stubblefield, Jr. (adopted), also a grandson of Elen Savary, gave three boxes of Taylor records to my grandparents. Some of these were typed pages that referred to the Taylor tree. My grandmother donated two of these boxes to a library in Kentucky in 1961. After searching for five years, I found them at the U. of K. in Lexington (special collections). I will look for these when I am in the States next summer.

My plans for the tree:

All information from the tree has been recorded. It is online at RootsWeb/Worldconnect and I am in the process of recording it at ourfamtree.org. In June 2009 I took the linen tree to the Gerald Ford Center in Omaha, NE, and had them scan the tree, so there is now a digital copy. It is my belief that it should be in a place that has proper storage facilities (presently it is rolled in a “fire proof” tube in a closet at my parent’s home) so that it is protected and can also be viewed by interested persons. I plan to loan it in the near future probably to the Historical Society of Virginia.

SCAN OF THE LINEN TREE

*From The William and Mary College Quarterly by Genealogical Publishing Co. on CD in an article by A. G. Grinnan, M.D., Madison Mills, Madison Co., VA, Vol. V, pages 54 & 55

**Gen. Memucan Hunt–Various spellings of his name but generally accepted as Memucan; sometimes called Jr. to distinguish him from his grandfather

***Gen. James Taylor/Hubbard Taylor MS at the Kenton Co. Library, Covington, KY.
R. Hawes was most likely Gen. Richard Hawes (1797-1877) of Paris, KY, a judge and later CSA Gov. of KY and brother of Susan who married Jonathan Gibson Taylor (1st cousin of Hubbard’s wife & his 3rd cousin).

 

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